We always tell ourselves whenever there’s an Oscars ceremony that we don’t ever care about what they pick for Best Picture, because it’s always been up to us to decide how the films play for ourselves. But no matter how many times we like to reaffirm that the Oscars are ultimately just meaningless to our own opinions of the films themselves, the better question to ask ourselves is why do we keep watching them? I’m not of a mind that has ever believed in the Academy Awards as arbitrary to how we feel about the films that we watch over the years, but I always watch because they are also indicative of how the industry chooses to move forward in the future. When La La Land lost last year to Moonlight after an erroneous announcement, what did not come by was merely a victory for LGBT films in the sense that we were finally recognized by the Academy in their choice to award us Best Picture, but because odds were never certainly going to add up in its favour, it was a moment of triumph for aspiring filmmakers like myself.
In recent years one would recognize Kathryn Bigelow for her more politically-oriented collaborations which have received Academy Awards recognition: those two films being The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. I’ve admittedly put off Near Dark for the longest time because vampire fiction generally never grabbed my interest enough, but eventually I came around to having watched it only to have my expectations blown further away. Near Dark is not only one of the most compelling pieces of contemporary vampire fiction put to the screen, but it works the way many other monster films in the 80’s have done so: all to a truly glorious effect. Continue reading →